NORTH ANDOVER, MA – The Merrimack men's soccer program announced its 2012 schedule Friday, which kicks off with the annual Merrimack Invitational on August 30 and September 1.
Led by senior captains Alejandro Fuchs (Caracas, Venezuela) and Nelson Santos Da Graca (Gothenburg, Sweden), Merrimack will open the season with five home matches in the first six games, taking on Post (Aug. 30), Dominican (Sept. 1), Molloy (Sept. 8), Southern New Hampshire (Sept. 11) and New Haven (Sept. 15).
In addition to the normal Northeast-10 schedule, Merrimack visits Bloomfield on September 18.
"Although we have lost nine seniors to graduation, including some of the very best players to ever play in our program, I am very optimistic for the coming season as we do return a solid group of players, including a lot of young players that made a lot of progress in the off season," said head coach Tony Martone. "The returning players will be well complimented by a solid group of recruits including some new players that should contribute right away."
From September 23 to October 10, Merrimack will be on the road for four conference matchups against American Int'l, Saint Anselm, Southern Connecticut State and perennial powerhouse Franklin Pierce.
The warriors will close out their 2012 regular season with two straight home contests against Saint Michael's and Saint Rose.
Last season, Merrimack recorded a 9-7-3 record overall, 7-5-1 in conference, finishing fifth overall. The Warriors were defeated in the NE-10 Conference quarterfinals by the Le Moyne Dolphins by the score of 3-2.
"The team is very excited, confident and anxious to get started for the upcoming season," said Martone. "My expectations as usual, are to win the conference and to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Both of these tasks are always very difficult but I believe in this group and I believe that we have the right balance of players and a group that understands the hard work and sacrifices we need to make to reach our goals."
The Warriors will be led by Fuchs and Santos Da Graca defensively and they will be looking for some offense from junior Francis Mulkern (Scituate, Mass.), who led the Warriors in goals last season with nine, and sophomore Michael Rincon (Medford, Mass.).
"I expect both of our senior captains, Ale Fuchs and Nelson Santos DaGraca, to lead the team on and off the field," stated Martone. "We have three solid goalkeepers returning and I expect fierce competition at this position. I also expect every field position to be highly contested and this should be good news for the program"
In all, Merrimack will play eight matches on the road, where the Warriors were 5-3 last season.
This is the fifth in a series of Merrimack team schedule releases. Check back regularly at www.merrimackathletics.com to view upcoming team previews and schedule releases.
August 6: Cross Country
August 7: Women's Golf
August 8: Women's Crew
August 9: Volleyball
August 10: Men's Soccer
August 13: Women's Soccer
August 14: Field Hockey
August 15: Football